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I think this is good news...


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Hello friends,

I went to pick up the blood test results this morning and was rather surprised to see that ONLY the liver function tests were done. I thought I had made my request clear....I wanted EVERYTHING tested including liver functions. Oh well! Such is life. Now I have to take him back tomorrow to have more blood drawn to check his red and white cell counts. I thought the doctor understood I wanted Mike checked for other problems such as gall bladder but it appears he did not think beyond the liver. Seems like I can't get a doctor to check out anything on Mike EXCEPT his liver. I guess if you have liver cancer, no one thinks you could have something else wrong with you. Seems like poor medicine to me. :?

The liver functions showed that although the counts are up from the previous test but they are not out of the "normal range" nor are they even "high" let alone at the critical stage. His ammonia level was very low, which is a good sign. However, his alkaline phosphatase is high but that can be due to the cancer as much as liver failure. His total protein and his albumin show that his liver is being "taxed" but not critical.

Mike's discomfort is in his bowels now. The pain moved from up under the right rib, to his stomach, down to his upper belly (large colon). Today his pain is in the middle of his bowels - right over the navel area. It appears to be moving downward. What this means? I don't know. I like to think it's moving on down and out of his body.

I talked to the holistic doctor today. She said that the pain moving down into the bowel area is a good sign. She said it could simply be detoxing. But in her next breath she said she would like Mike to go to a cancer center like Cancer Centers of America. She wanted Mike to go to a center where they do "natural" treatments because they could do the nutritional things intravenously and avoid "upsetting" Mike's stomach. However, since our insurance doesn't cover it and we don't have a twenty or thirty thousand dollars to spend on a consultation trip let alone what it would cost to "treat him"...well.....We have to do what we can.

Since we can't....we will continue to plug along. I told Mike that when his blood counts get "critical" then we will know God's planning on taking him....until then - We will fight the best way we can - with trying to build up his natural strength....and pray and wait on the Lord. We have to have hope until the "signs" show us that Mike's body is failing. Until then, we will fight the good fight.

Mike continues to be strong and brave but is tiring of the battle. Amazingly - he has little "pain" beyond the digestion ailments. When he does, we give him a half of an MSIR (pain pill) and that takes care of it.

The holistic doctor told me to continue giving him the supplements that are for liver function health and to give him the whey protein which is easier for his body to digest and easy on the liver. We are doing everything we can to help the liver "get healthy" and do it's job. The rest is up to God.

So - Is this good news? Is the bad news? Once again the Lord has proven to be faithful...but He has also asked us once again to "Wait upon the Lord". So we wait.

Don't stop praying for a miracle. I know I haven't and I know Mike hasn't. His will to live is still strong.

Love to all of you and thank you for your prayers.

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It sounds like that is indeed good news. You ARE an inspiration to us all as Katie said.

The one thing that infuriates me is when we are put in a position of feeling like we have to choose care for our loved ones or financial burden. Not even financial burden really, but financial impossibility. When Hugh was having his biopsy the surgeon ordered a PET scan first. Our insurance denied the procedure and I asked how much it would cost - the answer $2,700.00. Its that immediate gut wrenching feeling of not having the money but how can you put a price ceiling on saving your loved one? Here I was only a week into Hugh's illness and already I needed money I didn't have. After my initial panic the nurse said that our insurance would cover the scan AFTER the biopsy and if the tumor was found to be malignant. Funny, after the biopsy they decided he didn't need one "right now". Then my anger turned more to the doctors for ordering such an expensive test before they even knew if it was needed. In a more perfect world his tumor would have been benign and the PET scan would have been a total waste. No wonder insurance companies are the way they are. However, we pay for the damn insurance and I truly believe that we should be able to choose whatever doctors, clinics, procedures and treatment we and the doctors think are necessary.

Now that I have ranted on, it sounds like Mike is feeling better, he must be a strong man and you definitely are a strong woman.

Praying for you guys!

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Hi Shannon,

I think it sounds like you've got some good news :D I am praying that the rest of his tests turn out as well.

I've looked up some information about insurance at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), hope this helps. Also, there is a CTCA in Zion IL. which is in the north east corner of IL. sort of close to WI. It's about an hour's drive from where I'm at, but I have family and friends in the area, close to Zion, and we would be happy to put you guys up during a visit. LC family have to help each other, any way we can.

Types of Insurance Accepted at CTCA

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) accepts many types of insurance. The most common include: Indemnity Plans, Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs), Medicare, Champus, and some Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) with appropriate referrals.

Physician Referrals

Some insurance companies, such as HMO's and PPO's, may require a letter of referral from your primary care physician to receive certain types of treatment or increased benefit levels under the plan. In the event a referral is needed, it usually must meet the following criteria:

Written on insurance company letterhead (computer print screens are not acceptable)

Includes all authorized approval signatures

Specifies the facility (name and tax id #) where the patient will receive services

Specifies the physician or physician group (name and tax id #) who will treat the patient

Details the services that are approved (i.e. evaluation, testing, treatment)

Indicates the specific dates for which the referral is valid o Indicates any special billing instructions

Coverage amount for professional services (i.e. physician, surgeon, anesthesia)

Precertification requirements

Total (lifetime) dollar amount of coverage your plan provides

Costs not covered by insurance

You will be financially responsible for any deductibles, coinsurance and charges deemed by your insurance company to be in excess of Reasonable and Customary (R&C) and Usual and Customary (U&C) allowances. As a patient of CTCA you will be assigned a Patient Accounts Representative who is trained to assist you with insurance, billing and payment related issues.

Determining your insurance benefit coverage

Every insurance plan is subject to many variables concerning healthcare coverage - even the best ones. The Insurance Verification process is designed to provide both you and CTCA with a general understanding of your health insurance benefits as provided to CTCA by your insurance company.

The Insurance Verification process

The Insurance Verification process gives you the financial information you need to make important decisions about your cancer treatment. Your Oncology Information Specialist will review the general coverage benefit levels that have been quoted by your insurance plan to CTCA's Trained Insurance Verifiers. He or she will also explain these and other aspects of your plan:

Amount and frequency of the deductible you are responsible for

Percentage of coverage the plan pays after deductible has been met

Percentage of co-pay you are responsible for

Type of inpatient and outpatient benefits the plan covers

As this verification is not an insurance company's actual guarantee of benefits, CTCA encourages you to familiarize yourself with the benefit plan you chose and to contact your insurance company directly if you have any specific questions concerning your contract with them. There are a few guidelines that can help you determine if your insurance will allow you to seek treatment wherever you choose:

Your plan should provide a minimum of 70% coverage and a lifetime maximum in excess of $150,000

Plan benefits should be assignable to the provider (doctors) and facility (hospital or clinic)

Your pre-estimate of treatment costs does not exceed coverage limits.

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